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Old 09-28-2010, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My baby - 10 months - will not sleep.

Ever.

He doesn't nap.

He doesn't sleep at night.

I'm losing my freakin' mind.

Yesterday, he woke up at 7am, napped for maybe 20 minutes all day (broken into one 12 minute period, one 8 minute period) and went to bed at 7:15pm. I nurse on demand, bedshare, wear him, SAH with him and my 2.5 year old (who's currently feeling neglected because I have zero energy and NO patience). I've tried every single thing I can possibly think of: bedsharing, crib sleeping (his crib is in our bedroom), warmer/cooler pajamas, nursing down, not nursing down, rocking, bouncing on a yoga ball, car rides, baby wearing. Nothing works.

NOTHING has changed. No dietary changes, no new foods have been introduced, nothing has changed in our house, our sleeping arrangements are the same, no new milestones. He just cut two teeth, but they're through - Hyland's, Motrin/Tylenol doesn't make any difference.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful MIL that's agreed to take him tonight so I can get some sleep. My husband has to be on his game for work, so asking him to help out during the night is a no-go (he can sleep through it, anyway). Last night, the babe woke up at 11:30 and I brought him in bed with us. He nursed, tried to rip my nipple off, clawed at my face to the point that he drew blood, crawled everywhere, tried to pull the blinds down, so I gave up. I got up, turned on every single light in the house and let him play in the living room. I didn't know what else to do.

I have zero desire to parent right now. I feel like a horrible, crappy Mother because I don't want to be around him. At all. I don't want to nurse him, hold him, play with him ... nothing.

He also hates DH, so 100% of the parenting is on me. Yes, I leave him with DH anyway (and he screams the entire time - I went to dinner with a girlfriend last Friday and he was hoarse when I returned) but really, when all he does is scream the entire time I'm gone, what good does that do? He gets so upset with DH that he vomits, almost every single time.

There's nothing physically wrong with this child. His pediatrician - an attached Mom to 5 kids - has absolutely no idea what his problem is, either. He just won't sleep. He's apparently beyond attached to me. Everyone in this house is absolutely miserable and it's not fair. To any of us.

Sorry this is long and rambly and venty and ARGH. I just don't know what to do. I broke down and sobbed last night because I had exhausted every single possibility I could think of. I feel like I've failed.

K: Wife to C, Momma to C (2/20/08) & A (11/7/09)!
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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I have no advice for you, but sending you good vibes. I'm feeling much the same and actually got on here bc I'm feeling so sorry for myself. I have a 5mo horrible sleeper, but, at least he'll sleep for 1/2 hr at a time. It is so hard when they just won't sleep during the night, I had the worst time this morning getting up, so glad it's my first, your poor toddler to have to deal with this too
Just wanted to let you know there's more of us out there and hopefully someone has some good advice, i'd love to hear it! I keep thinking what am I doing wrong or what am I eating wrong, etc. GRRRRRR!!!!

Lovin my boys jumpers.gifDH, DS1 (4/7/10), and DS2 (2/19/12)...and - surprise! - another on the way
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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Oaky, I'm no expert, but I truly believe that babies need to be taught to sleep. I know, this is not going to be popular in this forum, but I can say that all three of my children have slept alone in their cribs from birth, even though two of them had reflux. How did I accomplish that? And why did I do it?

I was a nanny for many years before having my own and I saw first hand how tough it is to live in a house with a baby who won't sleep. I saw what happens when babies are nursed to sleep, rocked to sleep, bounced, held or carried to sleep. They never learn to put themselves to sleep. And if they never learn to put themselves to sleep, they never learn to sleep through the night.

So, I did lots of research and I helped lots of families teach their babies to sleep.

Here are the little nuggets of truth even doctors don't tell you. Babies have very short sleep cycles. They typically will come into a light stage of sleep every 20 minutes to 2 hours all night long, every night. Adults have longer sleep cycles, but they too come into light sleep stages throughout the night. This is when you get up to pee, or fluff your pillow, or roll over. Most nights you don't even remember it, you just fall back to sleep.

Now back to the baby. Babies have more frequent light sleep stages each night than adults do. And here's the simple fact; if a baby has learned to fall asleep alone in his own bed, he will fall BACK to sleep more easily when he wakes up during those light sleep stages. If he has not learned to put himself to sleep alone, he will cry out and demand the same routine to put him back to sleep that he had to fall asleep in the first place. I saw this with my own eyes in many, many families I worked for. Babies who were nursed to sleep, had to be nursed back to sleep each and every time they came into light sleep and woke up. Babies who were rocked to sleep, had to be rocked back to sleep. Babies who were swung to sleep in baby swings had to be put back in the swing each and every time they woke up. It's the only way they know how to go to sleep. I even worked for a family in NYC that would take their toddler out and walk the streets with her in her stroller in the middle of the night, because that was the only way that child knew how to fall asleep.

Imagine this. Suppose you fell asleep in your bed one night and then woke up in the middle of the night on the couch. Wouldn't you be startled? This is what happens when you rock, nurse, or carry or swing your baby to sleep and then put them down sound asleep in their bed. When they wake up during light sleep, they are startled and they cry out for you for two reasons. First, they are scared (how did I get here?) and second, they don't know how to fall back to sleep.

So, how did I train my babies to sleep alone in their cribs? I used to cuddle, and nurse them until they were nearly asleep and then lay them down awake but groggy so that they fell asleep alone in their beds. If they were tired enough to conk out in my arms I'd jostle them a little when laying them down so that they woke up enough to recognize that they were being laid down in their cribs. If needed, I'd pat them a little until they fell asleep. I did this from birth.

Of course there were times when they required a little more attention at night but I followed my gut and never picked them up out of their cribs at night unless they were sick. I didn't ever let them CIO either. Instead I'd wait two or three minutes (depending on age) and then go in and pat them, whisper, ssshhhhhh....mama's here, night, night. Some nights I had to get up MANY times, but usually for only very short periods of time ( a few days or a week) and then they'd be back to sleeping all night.

Later, after my kids were beyond infancy I discovered a book by Kim West. I think it was called, "Good Night. Sleep Tight." I read it out of curiosity and it closely resembled my own philosophy and technique. I highly recommend this book to get you started if you want to teach your baby to sleep in his own bed. Another good book that I read when I was a nanny and helping parents with their sleepless babies was, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, by Marc Weissbluth, MD. He talks about the sleep cycles I believe.

So, in closing, I do not advocate CIO in any way, shape or form, but I do believe you can teach your baby to sleep alone in his own bed. There will be some crying, but Kim West and I both use a method in which you tend to your child at night without picking them up and rocking/nursing them back to sleep. It worked for many of the families I worked for and it worked for all three of my babies!

Good luck. I hope you are getting some sleep soon.
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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He also hates DH, so 100% of the parenting is on me. Yes, I leave him with DH anyway (and he screams the entire time - I went to dinner with a girlfriend last Friday and he was hoarse when I returned) but really, when all he does is scream the entire time I'm gone, what good does that do?
This describes my DD's babyhood perfectly. She screamed when I left the room for anything, even for a moment to pee - and no one but mama could make it better. She was incredibly high needs.

I'm not going to lie to you... it didn't get better for a very long time. I honestly don't know what I would have done if she'd been my second.

Co-sleeping was the only thing that made the nights bearable. She often did the wake up and insist on playing thing in the middle of the night. I put up with it for a while, but eventually I laid in bed with her and made her lay down. It took several very long nights of her trying over and over to get up with me gently laying her down saying (while she screamed bloody murder and thrashed about), "Lay down and go night night." before she finally got it. I'm not sure how old she was at the time, though... at least as old as yours I think.

Have you considered swaddling? DS is 11 MO and I still swaddle him for at least the first portion of the night, and if he's particularly restless I'll keep him in it all night long. Some nights he resists it at first, but it does keep him sleeping a bit longer.

In the end, I just did whatever made her happiest. And that meant sacrificing my need for time alone for a very long time. I think things started to improve when she was about 18 months old, although at 3 YO she is very spirited and I only just recently realized that I'm able to pee by myself again.

I'm sure that's not what you were hoping to hear (sorry! ), but it's the only way I got through it. It would have been worse for me to force my uber-attached high needs baby to be apart from me the way most people will advise you to do (and you've already tried it).

Many, many hugs to you from someone who has been there. I hope you get some great advice!

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sahmmie View Post
So, how did I train my babies to sleep alone in their cribs? I used to cuddle, and nurse them until they were nearly asleep and then lay them down awake but groggy so that they fell asleep alone in their beds. If they were tired enough to conk out in my arms I'd jostle them a little when laying them down so that they woke up enough to recognize that they were being laid down in their cribs. If needed, I'd pat them a little until they fell asleep. I did this from birth.

Of course there were times when they required a little more attention at night but I followed my gut and never picked them up out of their cribs at night unless they were sick. I didn't ever let them CIO either. Instead I'd wait two or three minutes (depending on age) and then go in and pat them, whisper, ssshhhhhh....mama's here, night, night. Some nights I had to get up MANY times, but usually for only very short periods of time ( a few days or a week) and then they'd be back to sleeping all night.
I just wanted to respond to this. While this method may work for some, and may not seem like CIO, for people with high needs babies this can be impossible. My DD screamed bloody murder whenever I put her down at night. She could be in a dead sleep or just falling asleep and I'd get the same result. She did this from the day she was born - I kid you not.

I tried everything you described, and honestly it felt like CIO so I stopped. Maybe the babies you worked with, as well as your own, responded positively to it but not every baby can be expected to. The OP has described a very high needs babe - and there's a very good chance that laying him down and expecting him to fall asleep would only cause him more distress.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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I just wanted to respond to this. While this method may work for some, and may not seem like CIO, for people with high needs babies this can be impossible. My DD screamed bloody murder whenever I put her down at night. She could be in a dead sleep or just falling asleep and I'd get the same result. She did this from the day she was born - I kid you not.

I tried everything you described, and honestly it felt like CIO so I stopped. Maybe the babies you worked with, as well as your own, responded positively to it but not every baby can be expected to. The OP has described a very high needs babe - and there's a very good chance that laying him down and expecting him would only cause him more distress.
True. I didn't mean to insinuate that my method or Kim West's method would work for every baby. But I do think it's worth a try. I've seen lots of parents turn things around with their "high needs" babies, and I in fact had two high needs babies myself.

My son was extremely high needs with an amazing temper. But still, I trained him to sleep alone in his own bed through the night. My dd was a clingy, super highly anxious child, and she too slept through the night in her own bed. Both of them also had reflux. So, high needs babies can learn to sleep through the night.

Also, I think it's prudent to consider that a "high needs" baby may in fact be simply over tired.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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Also, I think it's prudent to consider that a "high needs" baby may in fact be simply over tired.
I think that's oversimplifying things. But, I'm happy to agree to disagree with you. Ultimately, I hope the OP is able to find some peace, whether that's through your suggestions or someone else's.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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I was a nanny for many years before having my own and I saw first hand how tough it is to live in a house with a baby who won't sleep. I saw what happens when babies are nursed to sleep, rocked to sleep, bounced, held or carried to sleep. They never learn to put themselves to sleep. And if they never learn to put themselves to sleep, they never learn to sleep through the night.
I know you're coming from a good place and just want to help very much, but this is the kind of advice that had me in tears for months until I started accepting that DD just isn't a typical sleeper. She's very alert and just prefers to be awake, and I have seen her sleep improve slowly, slowly but surely. I don't expect DD to learn to feed herself, or potty train, or speak, or walk, without my help--so why should I expect her to learn to fall asleep by herself? It's nonsensical to me.

I know a good few newborns who sleep long stretches from day 1. It's just how they are. And some babies are just very different.

I wanted to post this, very respectfully, because I remember reading this advice when I was desperate to get DD to sleep and it made me feel kind of hopeless and sad.

Woman, Wife, Mom to beautiful DD (10/14/09), Copywriter, occasionally tearing my hair out but usually pretty happy about it all
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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was your other child easy to nap/put to bed? my ds seems to be way more high energy than dd and he has always slept less than she did.

oh and since you mentioned mil, can she get your LO to sleep? what does she do?

not sleeping is so rough mama, hang in there.

mama to one '07 and one '09
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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I know you're coming from a good place and just want to help very much, but this is the kind of advice that had me in tears for months until I started accepting that DD just isn't a typical sleeper. She's very alert and just prefers to be awake, and I have seen her sleep improve slowly, slowly but surely.
I agree with this. I had one too. My second child was a non-typical sleeper. She didn't STTN until 2 1/2-3 yrs and rarely napped, even as a tiny infant. On the far and few occasions when she did nap, it was usually less than half an hour. We tried all kinds of things (including some limited CIO at my most desperate point, I'm sorry to say ). I finally had to conclude that this child just needed less sleep than her peers.

She was high needs and fussy, as well as bright and alert. Even as a newborn, she would only go to me, DH and my mom. If anyone else tried to hold her, she'd cry. Things got easier around the time she became mobile (esp walking) and MUCH easier when she became verbal. She still didn't sleep, but she was able to occupy herself a little more during the day so I didn't feel like I was holding her and trying to keep her happy ALL DAY LONG without any kind of break.

I did notice that she slept better at night around the time we stopped night-nursing, a little before she turned 2. I often wonder if I should have done that sooner. She'd stopped bedtime nursing for quite a while by that point. Bedtime was a huge ordeal because DH would parent her down and sometimes it took well over an hour, and then she'd wake up when he tried to put her down. Sometime around age 3 we finally got the point where we could put her down awake and she'd stay in bed and go to sleep and sleep ALL night.

So yeah, not much advice, but some and commiseration. It does get better. She's 5 now, and still very intense and tenacious, but she's a MUCH easier kid than infant. Hang in there!

Wife to a great DH, SAHM to 3 great kids
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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I do as the PP said and when the kids wake at night and seem to want to play I will just keep laying them down and say "Lie down. It's sleep time now." It does take some time but they do get that they can't get up in the middle of the night and play.

I also have to disagree with the PP who said that babies will never learn to sleep by themselves unless you train them. DS1, who is 5yo, doesn't wake at night, and we've never trained him. DS2, who is 2yo, will still wake once a night, but he also basically doesn't eat so I think he needs to wake for milk.

It's complicated.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:51 AM
 
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i'm in the same boat- i feel your pain. i have a dd (2y 9mo) and ds (8 mo) and ds does NOT sleep. i also wondered if there was something physically wrong w/ him. took him to the chiro- still didn't help w/ sleeping issues.

ds has been waking up 8-12 times a night for the past week and a half. i don't know if it's because he started crawling or because he's cutting teeth but it's really starting to take its toll on me. even before this started, he was waking an average of 4-5 times a night. he has slept 6 hrs straight maybe twice in his life. ds ALWAYS wakes up a half hour to an hour after i put him down, so i can't even go out at night to get a break. he has to be nursed down and i'm finding that i'm really starting to resent having to nurse him down so many times at night.

my poor dd- i tell her so many times each day to keep it down because her brother is sleeping. he is SUCH a light sleeper. this afternoon i spent 20 min nursing him down and when i finally snuck away, he woke up less than 5 mins later! why do i even bother??
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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I'm sorry mama, it's tough. I think if my first ds were my second I would have been in your boat too. The only things that worked with my first ds was to cosleep and wear him in a wrap for naps. But then I know you said you've tried both. I night weaned him at 18 months and things got a lot easier, but then nursing all night long was our problem.
Although he never napped well and always needed us to help him get to sleep until about 4 yrs old. But he did start STTN after we nightweaned (well for the most part).
Ds wasn't great with dh until closer to a year old. Although it wasn't as intense as what you described with your LO. I still think even if he is that attached to you it's still important for him to have time with his dad. You do need a break. What does your dh do with him when you leave? Does he wear him/carry him/cuddle him/distract him with play etc? How about when your MIL has him, how is he?
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Old 10-02-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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sending you strength mama

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